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June 11, 2015 - 

One of the first women to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Calvin Theological Seminary has been chosen for the top position at another divinity school. Leanne Van Dyk will become the 10th president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. Columbia is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Van Dyk graduated from seminary in 1987, a decade before the Christian Reformed Church allowed women to be ordained as ministers. She was ordained in the Presbyterian Church and is now a member of Hope Church (Reformed Church in America). By the time the Christian Reformed Church opened ordination to women in 1996, Van Dyk’s “path had taken a different direction,” she said.

Since 2006 Van Dyk has served as dean and vice president of academic affairs at Western Theological Seminary, a seminary affiliated with the RCA. She has taught Reformed theology at the Holland, Mich., seminary since 1998.

“I’m amazed and grateful at how things have unfolded,” said Van Dyk. “The beginning of my call in the early 80s was met with so much resistance that . . . it feels incredible to me that my calling has been so affirmed.”

She did not seek out the presidency, but “when the opportunity came knocking I recognized that all of my professional experience and my set of gifts actually pointed me in that direction,” Van Dyk said.

Van Dyk is the editor of A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony, and the former coeditor of Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought. She holds a B.A. from Calvin College, an M.A. from Western Michigan University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

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